An Odd Request
It all started the year we finished the irrigation ditch. Two years earlier. when my brother John married Sarah, Pa had done what he’d always said he’d do. He divided the Haven ranch that John and I had grown up on into three sections. Unlike Grandpa Haven, who left all the ranch to Pa, Pa wanted his two sons to have equal shares. John and I each got 300 acres. He didn’t divide the 10,000 acres of range land. He said we’d all share it. That made sense since the range wasn’t fenced.
I helped John build a barn, some fences, and a house. The house was only a great room and two bedrooms, but it was a start. We needed some help, so we brought on some extra farm hands. The workers stayed in Pa’s bunk house and walked the half mile to John’s place. We leveled fifty acres next to the irrigation ditch and dug trenches to flood another hundred acres. The summer had been hot, and, with the new water, we had a great harvest. John and I worked side by side that year, and so we split the income from the sale of the corn and wheat. I fenced in some of my land. In the next year, I planned to build a barn and buy the beginnings of a herd.
The day after Halloween, John and I were sitting on his porch. He had two arm chairs with seat pads that his wife had made. With the crops in, we had a little time to sit and enjoy a warm spell. Soon the frost would come, and chores would get harder in the cold.
“Gene, I think we should go to the cattle auction next week,” he said.
“Should be a good time,” I said. “I’m still planning to start with four cows.”
We’d been working John’s place for the last two years, and left my place almost alone. With his place mostly settled, I could start working on mine.
“We can handle those in my barn until spring,” he said.
“I figure I can start my barn then. I was thinking I’d build a little room so I can stay there when I want.”
“That’ll work for summer, but I expect you’ll be back here when the temperature drops.”
Crickets chirped in the field next to the house, and hens clucked from the hen house. The days were getting shorter, and twilight was earlier. The shadows from the trees north of John’s house were stretching across the pasture.
“You know Sarah and I been trying for a child,” John said.
I looked over at him leaning his chair back against the wood-shingle side of the house. Looking at John was sorta like looking in a mirror. Most of my life John had seemed to be what I would be in two years. Now we were the same height with the same tall, stringy frame with hard muscles from ranch work. I looked into the same dark brown eyes, tanned face, and strong nose that I had. His hair was pasted down from wearing his hat all day. We wore the same blue jeans. Sarah washed all our clothes together, and John and I weren’t serious about keeping straight who’s clothes were who’s; John was wearing a flannel shirt I thought I’d bought.
I was a little surprised at his statement. The two of us had been our only friends all our lives. The ranch was fifteen miles from town and three miles to our nearest neighbor. We had talked about everything as teenagers including our thoughts about girls, but John had hardly ever talked about Sarah.
“Well, I expect so,” I said.
“Been trying since we got married,” John said. “Doesn’t seem to be working. She’s been to see Doc. Turner. He says she looks OK.”
“Guess you get to keep trying,” I said.
“The Doc thinks it might be me,” John said. “He says the measles does that sometimes.”
“Well, damn,” I said.
“We’re thinking maybe you could help,” he said.
I didn’t get what he was saying right away.
“Well, sure. What you want me to do?”
“Maybe you could be a father,” he said.
That was when I realized what he was saying. I slept in John’s back bedroom because all my work was at his place. The house was strong, but, in the quiet nights, you could hear everything. I had heard John and Sarah together many nights, but I had gotten so I could ignore those sounds. I had considered trying to strengthen their bed so it wouldn’t squeak as bad, but then I’d have to tell them why I was doing that.
Sarah was pretty and so nice that I figured I’d do well if I could find a woman so good. I had been going to the church socials in the hopes that I’d get as lucky, but it wasn’t working. I figured I knew every rancher’s daughter for fifty miles.
“How would you feel about that?” I asked.
“I want a kid as bad as Sarah does,” John said. “So I guess we have to do what we have to do. You’re my brother, so a child would be almost mine. You know I’d do right by it.”
“What does Sarah think,” I asked.
“She’s OK with it,” he said.
That evening after the chores, we walked back to the house together. The smell of baking filled the great room. On the end of the long ranch table, Sarah had laid out our supper – chicken sandwiches and a dessert of choke cherry cobbler.
After supper, we usually talked about the plans for the next day knowing that daylight would come earlier than we’d like. We had to be about the morning chores before the sun was fully up. But this night, the table was silent. I was thinking about the clock ticking when John stood up.
“I guess I’ll use the other bedroom tonight,” he said.
After he had left, Sarah picked up the supper dishes and took them to the sink. She let her dark brown hair grow long. During the day, she fixed it up in a bun. I guess that made her work easier. In the evening she took out the combs and let it fall to her shoulders. As she worked at the sink, her hair swayed back and forth, catching the light from time to time. Her gingham dress swayed as well. It came almost to the floor not quite covering her bare feet.
She dried her hands and came back to the table. Her dark brown eyes met mine for a second and then she looked down at the floor.
“I guess we can go to bed,” she said. She turned toward the bedroom. At the door, she turned back, paused, left the door open, and went inside. I waited at the table until I heard her settle into the bed. I put some wood in the stove, blew out the kerosene lanterns on the mantle and the table, and headed to the bedroom.
Sarah had the covers pulled up to her neck. Her hair spread across the pillow. Eyes darker than John’s and mine stared at me out of her face that was as tan as mine without spending much time in the sun. On the other side of the bed was my nightshirt. Facing away from the bed, I took off my shirt. After pulling on the nightshirt, I dropped my pants and underwear. She had left the lantern on the dresser burning. I pointed to it. She shook her head, so I pulled up the covers and crawled into bed.
I had only been with one woman before. Three years ago Susanne Knight and I had rolled in the hay in her father’s barn a few times. She was a free spirit, and I thought I was in love. But at the end of the summer, she didn’t want to see me anymore.
Sarah smiled at me as I moved over next to her. Her hair brushed my face. I had never been this close to her. She was so warm and soft. The scent of her hair made me think of wildflowers. She closed her eyes when I slid my hand down to her bare leg. I pulled up my nightshirt and pressed my hardness against her. She responded by pushing against me and moving her legs apart. It seemed completely natural for me to slide over and lay between her legs. She raised her knees, opening herself to me. She was so wet that I slipped down and right in. She pushed back as I thrust into her, and I quickly found my rhythm. As I pressed harder into her, the bed started to squeak. It barely registered that John might be hearing us. I was so excited that it didn’t take long before I felt the urge rising. I pressed hard and delivered in her. Sleep came quickly once I rolled off and lay next to her.
With the first of the daylight, I felt her stirring. Her movement brought to mind the previous night, and my member hardened. I had never slept the night with a woman. My body told me that mornings could be as interesting as evenings. I moved over next to her, ran my hand up her side and cupped her breast. At first, she was motionless, but as I played with her breast, she relaxed. Soon I mounted her, and we made the bed squeak again.
As soon as I rolled off, she got out of bed, pulled on a robe, and left. I lay in bed a few minutes, listening to Sarah stoke the fire, put the kettle on the stove, and busy herself preparing breakfast. I drifted back to sleep but jolted awake a short time later.
John was already in the barn when I got there. We had four cows to milk. He had already finished one and was starting on the second. I picked up a bucket and a one-legged stool. After wiping down the teats, I started squirting milk into the bucket.
“How are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m OK,” he said. I listened for any hint of hurt or pain in his voice. I couldn’t tell. We worked with only the sound of milk splashing into our buckets. John finished his cow and moved to the last one.
“Do you always hear that bed squeak?” He said.
“Knowing what was going on was one thing, but the squeak sorta got to me.”
“Sorry about that.”
“Not your fault,” he said. “Think we could fix that bed?”
“We could try,” I said.
“The Doc said that her best time is ten days after her bleed and for the next ten days. Yesterday was day ten. So I guess we do this for ten days.”
“You think one month will do it?” I asked.
“I hope so.”
When we finished the milking, I told John to head back to the house. I’d shovel the manure out of the milk-barn and feed the rest of the cattle. I figured John and Sarah needed a few minutes.
They were sitting at the table when I got back to the house. I stopped at the door to take my boots off. Sarah brought a pan of eggs and potatoes from the oven, set it in the center of the table, and sat down. I poured a cup of coffee from the pot on the stove and took my regular seat across from John.
John looked up. “We’re okay,” he said.
“You know I wouldn’t do anything to come between you two,” I said.
“We know that,” Sarah said. “This has to be uncomfortable for you too.”
“It sure is,” I said. “I didn’t think it would be like this.”
“Let’s just hope it works,” John said. Sarah put her hand over his.
That night after supper, John read from the paper for a while, Sarah did some darning, and I tried to read a book in the corner chair. I tried not to look over at Sarah, but my thoughts kept going back to the night before. John got up from the table and went into the back bedroom. Sarah looked up at me. She put her needlework aside and went to the bedroom, leaving the door open.
I waited for the sound of the bed and then joined her. After donning my nightshirt, she pointed to the lantern. I blew it out and found the bed by moonlight.
I didn’t feel as rushed as the night before. I ran my hands over her and kissed her. I realized that we had made love twice but never really kissed. I found her lips soft and was surprised when she responded by putting her tongue between my lips. She tasted somewhere between sweet and coffee. We kissed and touched each other for a while. I could get lost in the feeling of her mouth and her tongue dancing with mine. I laid between her legs and pressed my hardness against her. She spread her legs and raised her knees so that I could slide into her. We started slow and easy, but when I felt her tightening on me, I moved more rapidly. I wanted to be deep in her when I spent myself. The idea that I might be making her with child, made the feelings stronger.
In the morning, she woke me with another kiss. I responded by pulling her to me. Soon I was ready again, and we repeated the prior morning’s exercises.
After breakfast, John and I took the mattress off the bed and nailed some square braces on the legs. That night the bed was better, but the springs still had a tiny squeak. We spent the next two evenings in the same manner, but after dinner on the fifth day of this new experience, John said, “I think I’d like to sleep in my own bed tonight.”
I glanced at Sarah who was smiling at John.
“Sure,” I said.
Alone in the back bedroom, I heard the faint sound of the bed springs at an ever faster pace. Previously, I had been able to put their marital noises out of my mind, but that night, even though the sound was faint, I listened until the squeaking stopped. My member must have been listening. It took me a while to get to sleep.
The next night we went back to the new experience. That night Sarah taught me about the button at the top of her slit. I rubbed it for a while, and then she arched her back and gasped. It had never occurred to me that women could be just like men. After she spent, she was very tight when I entered her. That tightness made the feeling more intense. She pulled me to her as my thrusts came faster and harder. When I spent, she pulled me as deep as I could go. I lay on her with my head by hers. I kissed her shoulder and tasted her sweat. It wasn’t just salty, it had a new flavor.
The next night I made her spend before I entered her and after as well. I thought that I was getting the hang of this.
Sunday was a bright, cold day. John and I were still in our Sunday clothes, sitting on the porch while Sarah worked inside.
“You know, knowing you being with her is harder than I thought it would be,” he said.
“Does that mean you want to stop,” I asked.
“No, I think we have to see this through,” he said. “I’m just saying.”
“What would make it easier?” I said.
“Wouldn’t matter if you were somewhere else,” he said. “Long as I know what you two are doing, I’ll think on it.”
We sat for a bit. I was thinking of all the things John and I had done together when we were younger like skinny dipping in the pool up Crane Creek. We had been so free together. I was afraid this thing with Sarah was coming between us.
“Maybe, we should be together,” I said. “When I heard you two together the other night, it was hard on me. It must be worse for you.”
“You mean the three of us in the same bed?” John asked.
“Might be a little tight,” I said. “But you know she loves you. If she wasn’t out of sight, it might be easier. I’m not sure I could do it, but we could try.”
“Well, that’s a pretty strange idea,” he said. “Guess I’ll talk to Sarah.”
John went inside. He closed the door, and all I could hear was whispers. The clouds were building up in the east. We’d have a storm in a few days. John came back. He’d changed out of his Sunday clothes.
“Sarah says we can try it,” he said.
I left to change out of my Sunday clothes so that we could go over to Pa’s for Sunday dinner. I was thinking it might be different to be at table with Ma and Pa knowing what we did, but there was so much news and plans for the coming winter, that our sleeping arrangements didn’t enter my mind until we were walking on the path back to John’s place.
Sarah went to the bedroom and John went to fetch his nightshirt from the back bedroom. He went right in instead of waiting for Sarah to get in bed. I followed him. Sarah was unbuttoning her dress as I entered. She had three or four work dresses and did her washing on Mondays. Today’s dress was the flowered one. It had about a dozen buttons down the front to the waist and long sleeves with flared cuffs.
John was pulling off his shirt. I realized that I had made love to Sarah almost every night for a week, but I hadn’t seen her fully naked. She stopped when she saw me. I started to turn to go back and wait, but she smiled and continued with the buttons. She finished with the buttons, slipped one shoulder down so she could pull her arm out of the sleeve, did the same with the other arm, pushed the dress down from her hips and stepped out of it. She put it on a chair and then turned back. She pulled her chemise up over here head. I was standing there a little befuddled. John had pulled his shirt off and was loosening his belt. I pulled my shirt over my head. With her chemise off, Sarah’s breasts were bare. She pulled her bloomers down and turned away to retrieve her nightgown from where it had been laying on a chair. Her bare bottom seemed to be the perfect shape and her hips flared out from her waist in just the right way. John dropped his pants, after putting them on a chair, he pulled on his nightshirt. I finished undressing and put on my nightshirt. Sarah came to my side of the bed, lifted the covers, and climbed in. She scooted to the middle of the bed and then looked at each of us in turn. I climbed in on her left side, and John climbed in on her right.
At first, I was reluctant. Having John across from me, held me back. Sarah must have sensed this. She reached under my neck and pulled me to her. As I lay against her leg, my head on her arm, I felt my interest harden. With her arm up, the woman smell from the patch of black hair under her arm was strong. It was uniquely Sarah and drew me to her like a bee to pollen. I rubbed my hand up the inside of her leg, felt the bushy part, and slid my hand up to her breast. We had left the lantern on, and so I could see John looking at me. Her eyes were closed. He looked down to her chest where he could see my hand moving under the covers. Opening her legs she pressed against me. I slid my hand down to her slit and then to the little button. She pushed against my hand as I rubbed her. I slipped my finger lower where I could feel how wet she was. I didn’t wait for her to spend. Instead, I climbed on to her and lay between her legs. She raised her knees. As I slipped into her, I looked to John. He as looking at us, but I couldn’t tell what he was feeling. I began to thrust into her. I felt her hand move from my back and reach out to him. I couldn’t tell where her hand was, but I felt John’s hand slide between us onto her breast.
She tightened around me. Soon all I could feel was that tightness. I thrust harder and soon delivered pressing hard. We all lay without moving for several minutes. Then as I rolled off of her, I felt John lean next to me. He took my place between her legs and soon his motion told me that he was in her. They moved together as the tempo built and when it reached a peak, she cried out and was followed by his cry. They lay together for a while. I got up and blew out the lantern, returned to bed, and was soon asleep.
At daybreak, I resumed the same plan. John woke shortly after I put my hand between her legs. I saw his eyes open when I rolled onto her. She hadn’t pulled her knees up, and so I laid on her rubbing her nipples. She answered my kiss. I was about to move my hand down to her button when I felt a hand next to mine. John’s hand slid up to her breast and began to rub her nipple. Having two lovers clearly had an effect, as she soon raised her knees, welcoming me. I raised myself up on my elbows and slid into her. While thrusting into her, I began to kiss her. She opened her mouth, and I explored her with my tongue. She answered with her tongue. John’s hands were now on both her breasts. She arched her chest. I increased my motion, and she answered me until I pressed hard to her and spent deep. No sooner had I rolled over than John was between her legs. I put my hands on her breasts with her nipples between my fingers. Every time John thrust forward, he pressed my hands against her soft breasts. Soon, she arched her hips forward and moaned. I knew this meant John would be feeling her tighten around him. Sure enough, he soon spent.
After chores and breakfast, I saddled Punch. I needed to visit my land, and I needed some time alone. I hadn’t been there for a week. Things hadn’t changed much. It had rained for a day and a half, so the field near where I was planning to put the house was green with new growth. The grass would stop growing with the first snow, but this was a promise for spring. I had disked the field last spring, spread new grass seed, and flooded the field with new irrigation during the summer. Next year, I planned to work on several more acres. As I wandered toward the river, I wondered if I might be able to plant corn in the twenty acres above the river. It was pretty flat. By digging a trench down from the irrigation ditch, this field would add to the forty acres John was adding next year. I decided I’d talk to John and also make sure Pa would have enough bunks for two more hands.
John was sitting on the porch when I came walking back from the barn after settling Punch in his stall. I joined him to watch the sundown.
“This is day eleven,” he said.
“So we’ll know in another ten days?”
“I guess we can handle things alone now,” he said. “But you know, there is something about what we have been doing. It does something for me to see her with you. It’s not all bad.”
“I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t good,” I said. We’d see whether our work had taken hold in ten days. I sorta hoped maybe I’d have another month.
We fell into our routine. The days got shorter; the nights got colder. I felt different when I heard the bed springs begin to squeak. Now that I knew exactly what was going on, the picture in my mind was vivid. I had to admit; I wanted to be with Sarah.